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Solar ferry ‘Aditya’ emerges money, energy saver for Kerala government


KOCHI: Aditya, India’s first solar ferry, which celebrated its second anniversary on Tuesday, has indeed proved to be a smart investment for the State Water Transport Department. In the two years since its launch, the ferry could save more than Rs 40 lakh in various expenses. Launched in January 2017, Aditya has already become the lifeline of daily commuters on the Vaikom-Thavanakkadav route.

Manufactured by NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats (under the Make In India initiative), the catamaran-type boat, with a capacity to carry 75 passengers, was launched for transportation purpose in the state’s backwaters. According to NavAlt, the boat has helped save `40 lakh in cost of diesel, which is equivalent to 58,000 litres in a span of two years.

Over the past two years, around 6,40,000 passengers travelled in the ferry, which covered a total distance of around 38,500 km. With a daily collection of around Rs 6000, the boat service could earn a total income of Rs 43.8 lakh in two years. The operational cost (power charge) for the department came to an aggregate of Rs 1.31 lakh. The all-out savings is about Rs 40.8 lakh, according to a release issued by NavAlt.

On account of the second anniversary, the passengers were given a free ride on Tuesday. Sandith Thandasherry, founder and CEO of Navalt Solar and Electric Boats Pvt Ltd, said the flagship product has successfully completed its two years.

“Aditya indeed brought fresh thoughts about adopting new technology in the transport sector. Now while planning new projects in the public transport sector, a major thrust is given to environment-friendly modes.

The Kochi Water Metro is adopting boats with electric engines in place of fossil fuel-run engines. When Aditya was launched in 2017, there was apprehension whether the solar technology will be successful in the transport sector,” he said.

The Kochi-based NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats was launched in 2013.

NavAlt envisages making marine transport more efficient by reducing the energy needs for operation. NavAlt has designed boats and ferries combining advancements in electric vehicle technology, marine design and photovoltaics. NavAlt is a result of three experts coming together, along with their respective ventures – Navgathi Marine Design & Construction Pvt. Ltd. (India), Alternatives Energies (France) and EVE Systems (France).